Health equity has been top of mind for many this past year, in large part because of the impact of the pandemic especially on people of color and underserved communities. Now that we recognize that health equity is not a reality for far too many, the question remains what are we actually going to do to make certain that everyone has the tools they need to pursue a life of health and healthy behaviors? And more specifically, what are we going to do in the cancer care sphere—from prevention to diagnosis to treatment to end-of-life care—to address the glaring inequities… Read More »An Actionable Framework to Address Cancer Care Disparities: A Call To Action
Getting Back To Cancer Screening: It’s Time To Give Priority To Those Most In Need, Not Those With The Loudest Voice
“How will be certain coming out the pandemic that those who should be a priority for cancer screenings based on risk and need in fact get to the head of the line? And how will we be certain that those who lack voice in the healthcare system are heard and their needs addressed?” That was the question I asked frequently a year ago as we went into the initial shutdown phase as a result of COVID-19. It was a time when there was fear and a lack of understanding about the pandemic, when resources had to be shifted to acute… Read More »Getting Back To Cancer Screening: It’s Time To Give Priority To Those Most In Need, Not Those With The Loudest Voice
We are facing a surge in corona virus cases. Hospitals are at their limits throughout the United States. Nurses, doctors, hospital staffs are overwhelmed. They are tired, and relief is not in sight. Does that mean we will start seeing health care rationed, especially for cancer patients whose prognosis may be uncertain? Sadly, that may be the case over the next several weeks if we don’t reverse our current course to disaster. During the early days of the COVID19 pandemic one of my worst fears was the possibility that cancer patients could not get hospital treatment if needed as a… Read More »Does COVID Winter Mean Rationing Care For Those With Cancer?
Cancer advocacy is not often top of mind, even for patients and families facing active diagnoses and treatments for cancer. However, with the added impact of COVID-19 on our health and well being, advocacy and service in the cancer space is becoming more important than ever. That is one of the messages that came from a webinar I participated in this morning on “Cancer Care Patient Advocacy Perspectives” as part of a series of discussions being presented over the course of several months by the Association for Value Based Cancer Care. Organizations providing advocacy and service to those with cancer… Read More »Cancer Advocacy: A Precious Resource In A Time Of Immense Needs
16 million cancer survivors in the United States, growing every year. Success stories we never would have imagined even a decade ago. And yet, when it comes to genuinely understanding the impacts of cancer treatments and what happens over the long term to young and older survivors alike, we are woefully uniformed and under-prepared—and as a nation don’t have a unified plan to address the issue. That’s my take away nugget from a two day workshop just completed on “Addressing the Adverse Consequences of Cancer Treatment,” convened by the National Cancer Policy Forum, which is part of the National Academies… Read More »It’s Time To Address The Needs Of Cancer Survivors
No one really wants to say this about national political leadership, especially in a time of serious nationwide distress and even moreso at a time of heightened political tension and presidential elections, lest one’s comments be dismissed as being politically motivated. However given the events of the past months and especially the past few days, it must be said: Our national (and some state) political leaders are demonstrating a wanton, deliberate and callous disregard for truth and for science, and as a result we are now entering a period of intense national emergency leading to avoidable illness, death and potential… Read More »A Wanton, Deliberate and Callous Disregard for the Truth and Science Regarding COVID-19
A recent conversation among a group of physicians gave me a fair amount of distress and discomfort. The topic was an unproven treatment for COVID-19, the discomfort was the disinformation—in my opinion—being shared, and the distress was the fact that the discussion likely reflected what some doctors are actually doing for the treatment of patients who are infected with the corona virus. Evidence was left at the doorstep. As I reflected on the conversation I realized it was not unlike what I have experienced over decades as a medical oncologist, especially in years past where there was literally very little… Read More »Unproven Treatments in COVID-19: Why Do They Persist?
We have had a bit of a debate in this country whether or not we had an effective response to the corona virus pandemic. Now new data shows that not only have we done a poor job of controlling COVID-19 infections and deaths but our outcomes have been among the worst in the developed world. That’s hard to believe, but it is true. At least that’s what the data shows. The research report published yesterday in JAMA starts with the comment that “The US has experienced more deaths from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than any other country and has one… Read More »The United States Leads The Developed World In COVID-19 Deaths. Really.
“I dunno…” That’s what our 3 year old granddaughter used to say when asked a question. What made it especially cute was when she raised her hands upward to the side of her head and gave a quizzical facial expression with her response. When she said “I dunno” it was cute. Today, when we hear it as a nation it isn’t so cute. It is deadly serious in the truest sense of the word. Today we are living what I have called “COVID truth”, a moment in time where truth is no longer true and where the alteration and repetition… Read More »COVID Truth In A Post-Truth World: “I Dunno” Is Not An Answer
COVID-19 remains top of mind for many of us. As the virus lingers on, taking a terrible toll in lives and life-threatening illnesses, our capacity to deal with the reality of this pandemic gets less and less. That’s why it is so important that we remember to pay attention to the important things in our life, so we can continue to enjoy our lives as best we can today and as we want to do for the future. Part of that attention has to be for our health, and cancer detection/prevention needs to be on that list. The reality is… Read More »Cancer Screening In The Age Of COVID: The Time Is Now!